September 03, 2008

Alumnus funds professorship in management

by Greg Scott

Greg Lee Commencement

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A senior vice president for Motorola is supporting SIU Carbondale’s efforts to retain and recruit distinguished professors to the College of Business. Greg A. Lee, a 1972 SIUC graduate, is contributing $250,000 toward these efforts.

Lee, a Motorola executive since January 2008, is donating funds through the SIU Foundation to establish the Gregory A. Lee Professorship in Management in the business college. His gift will assist the college in recruiting and retaining an outstanding faculty member; providing additional prestige and recognition to the individual.

Additionally, prominent professors receiving the honor receive a stipend to supplement their salaries. Universities use the stipend as an edge necessary in competing for renowned faculty members.

“The best way I know to give back to the school that provided so much in building my career is to help ensure that SIU has the best possible teachers and instructors. If we accomplish this goal, the end results take care of themselves over time,” Lee says. “Competition for great talent is one of the biggest challenges any institution faces. If we are going to continue attracting top-caliber students, we have to attract and retain outstanding faculty members at SIU. Personally, great teachers have been essential in my life and career.”

A selection committee developed by the College of Business dean will recommend a faculty member for the award. After selection, the recipient will retain the honor indefinitely; subject to periodic review by select college representatives.

Lee says SIUC faculty established a strong foundation for his career success.

“There were a handful of professors who truly made my learning experience both challenging and personally meaningful here at SIU. They not only got me engaged in a learning process that I’ve kept with me my entire career,” he says. “But I also benefitted from instructors who sparked my imagination and challenged me to think differently and from other perspectives.”

As senior vice president of human resources for Motorola, the Chicago native has worldwide responsibilities for workforce development, organizational effectiveness, benefits and compensation, staff, global inclusion and diversity. Prior to joining Motorola, Lee was senior vice president of human resources at Coca-Cola Enterprises, the world’s largest marketer, producer and distributor of Coca-Cola products.

Lee has also served as a senior vice president of human resources at Sears, Roebuck and Company, and held additional leadership positions with Whirlpool Corporation, The St. Paul Companies, Inc., and PepsiCo., Inc.

SIU Carbondale College of Business Dean J. Dennis Cradit says Lee’s success has served as a motivational tool for students.

“His stature and visibility in the business world has always been a source of inspiration to our students. But Greg Lee’s gift signals that the process of producing outstanding students requires that we support outstanding faculty,” Cradit says. “We are deeply grateful for his passion for business education and for his loyalty to SIU.”

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, says: “Greg Lee has clearly enjoyed a great deal of success in the business world. This gift is his way of demonstrating the importance he values in mentors and instructors who guide our students in pursuit of their career goals. The SIU community is thankful for his support and commitment to influence the lives of young, aspiring business professionals at this institution for years to come.”

Lee, a College of Business Hall of Fame member and 2008 Alumni Achievement Award recipient, says funding the professorship is his way of returning the favor to Southern.

“This presented me with an opportunity to give back to the University and business school in a fashion that was sustainable over a period of time,” Lee says. “I received a very strong education at Southern. Certainly, assisting the University’s ability to attract and maintain premier instructors is essential.”